What Is A Power Steering Pressure Hose?

If you are just started learning about cars, you may not even know what a power steering pressure hose does. In this article, we will dive deep into the intricate details of a power steering pressure hose and what you should know about it if you need to replace it or not.

What Is A Power Steering Pressure Hose?

A power steering pressure hose carries power steering fluid from the fluid reservoir and pump to the power steering rack. The low-pressure hose carries fluid back to the pump while the high-pressure hose carries power steering fluid to the steering mechanism. 

Though it is not commonly broken part, the power steering system does operate under harsh conditions that place enormous stress on both the power steering pressure hoses. They usually operate at up to 300℉ and 1500 psi. In addition to that, the power steering pressure hoses have to absorb high-pressure vibrations while remaining relaxable to reduce noise levels.

Power steering pressure hoses need to also withstand external conditions, such as temperature changes, ozone, sunlight, grease, oil, etc., and internal issues, such as worn parts, metal flakes, hose impurities, etc.

What is the power steering system?

The power steering system helps the car maneuver using the steering wheel. The power steering system is made up of the reservoir, which stores power steering fluid, two power steering pressure hoses, and a power steering pump, which is driven by the engine using an accessory belt.

What Are Symptoms Of A Failing Power Steering Pressure Hose?

Leaking power steering fluid

Power steering fluid is normally clear or amber color. It has the fragrance of burnt marshmallows. These are two sure-tell signs of leaking power steering fluid. 

If the power steering fluid is old, it may have a similar color as engine oil but it will definitely have a different smell. Your power steering fluid should not be black or brown in color.

In addition to these physical characteristics, power steering fluid is also a fire hazard and should be cleaned up ASAP.

You cannot steer properly

If your steering wheel is difficult to turn, this is a big sign that something may be wrong with your power steering pressure hose. Normally, your steering wheel should be effortless to move. Any significant resistance would be an abnormal trait.

If there is not enough pressure in the power steering system to get the power steering fluid back to the rack, your car will have a difficult time to turn and make sharp maneuvers.

Low power steering fluid levels

If you respect your car in any manner, you will give it a routine checkup to make sure that you have enough power steering fluid. If there is any drastic drop in fluids, something is definitely not right. Whether it is your power steering pressure hose, power steering system or another part of your engine, your mechanic should be called to diagnose this issue. This can be a sign of leaking power steering fluid which can impact your entire system if left untreated.

If you notice any issues with the steering of your vehicle, check underneath your car to see if there are any leaks. Inspect the bottom of your car and take note if you need to constantly replace your power steering fluid.

There is also a possibility that you may need to have the entire power steering system flushed out for optimal performance.

How To Flush A Power Steering System

So, your power steering fluid is old. You see that it lost its clear or amber color. It is black or brown and just looks gross. In addition to that, you may also notice that your engine is making a bit more noise as usual. So, here is a detailed guide on what to do. I also found a great video showing you exactly what to do to flush your power steering system.

Check your owner’s manual

Make sure you read your owner’s manual to double-check on using the correct power steering fluid. Another pro tip is to purchase more power fluid than you need in order to make sure you do not run out while cleaning and refilling.

Drain the old fluid

Using jacks, lift up your vehicle and place a drain pan underneath the power steering pumps and reservoir. Make sure you have your paper towels ready as well.

From the top, use a turkey baster to empty out as much fluid as you can. When there is no more fluid to be extracted, turn your steering wheel all the way to the right and left a couple of times. This process is called turning the wheel from lock to lock, which helps to pump more fluid back into the reservoir. You need to do this step a couple of times in order to reduce the amount of power steering fluid spilled much later.

Find the fluid return hose

Underneath your car, you should look for the fluid return hose, which would be next to the feed hose. The return line is a low-pressure hose, which will be easier to remove and drain more power steering fluid from. The feeder line is a high-pressure hose and will be much more difficult to do the same procedure. So, why make your life more difficult?

As soon as you use pliers to disconnect the return hose, have your containers and towels ready to collect the power steering fluid. After the power steering fluid has stopped flowing out, turn your wheel lock to lock in order to get out as much fluid as you can.

Flushing your power steering system with new fluid

From the top, fill your reservoir halfway with new power steering fluid. At this point, your return line should still be disconnected. 

Turn on your engine and turn your wheel lock to lock. Make sure your reservoir does not become completely empty while you do this step since you do not want to damage your power steering system. If you have a buddy to help you with this step, take the extra hand.

When you see that the fluid coming out is the same color as the fluid going in, your power steering system has been successfully flushed. The old fluid has been removed fully and you can be confident in that.

Reconnect the return feed and refill the reservoir

Clean up the spilled power steering fluid and reconnect the return hose. Then, pour in new power steering fluid to its full level. Cap the reservoir.

Start the car for a few seconds and you will see that the fluid level will decrease. Open the reservoir again and fill it up.

Make sure to check for any leaks while your cars are still on the jack stands. Correct any errors before placing your car on the ground. Turn your steering wheel lock to lock while the engine is running. There should be no abnormal buzzing sound from your pump.

Test drive your car

After flushing your power steering system, your steering issues should be solved. Take your car out for a test run. Carry some extra power steering fluid just in case.

By making sure your power steering fluid is new and functional, you elongate the lifetime of your power steering system and car. 

How Much Is A Power Steering Pressure Hose Replacement?

If you need to replace your entire power steering pressure hose, it can typically cost between $200-600, depending on your car model and year. The power steering pressure hose part can cost between $60-300, depending on where you purchase your part. Car dealerships will charge you more for the same part.

I would know because I tried to purchase a power steering pressure hose for a 2004 Toyota 4Runner 4WD at a local car dealership. The representative quoted me $500 for the part when I could have purchased it online for $100-200 tops.

Do Old Muscle Cars Have Power Steering?

A lot of older muscle cars did not have power steering. In fact, it is one of the recommended modern upgrades to do when restoring an antique muscle car.

Lasting Thoughts

It is not difficult to understand the components of a car once you do some good research. I have compiled all the information you need to know about power steering pressure hoses and what you should know about them when you think something is wrong with your steering.

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